IT’S TIME TO SHOW US YOUR BOOKS!!! Although, I think I misrepresent what month I’m actually discussing because I’ve been using the month I publish the post instead of the month I read the books in. Not sure why I do that. Also, do you love that I used the word “month” 3 times in that sentence?
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating–this is my favorite day of the month. I love learning about what you guys have read, I love stocking up my to-read list even more, and I love sharing with you what I’ve read. Because books. Books are the best.
This was actually a very slow reading month for me. I blame my weeklong vacation for part of it but I also realized I spent a lot of time reading in-depth investigative pieces. While some people indulge in magazines as a balance to books, I enjoy investigative journalism. It feeds my need to learn differently than books do and, since I’m not currently working, it helps keep the “smart” part of my brain sharper. I’ll link to some of my favorite stories in my Friday recap because today we focus on books.
Here’s what I read:
That Night by Chevy Stevens. I liked her book Still Missing which prompted me to read this one. I read it in an afternoon. It reminded me of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places but less…dark. Don’t get me wrong. This is still a dark book. But it’s a little lighter at heart, if that makes sense. It tells the story of a woman and her boyfriend sent to prison for the murder of her younger sister, and how they try to prove their innocence one they’re released from their 15 year sentences. The high school bullying part of the story is hard to read but, unlike in some other books, the bullying is integral to the plot. It’s a fast paced, engaging story and I highly recommend the book although, disclaimer, I read this book in the days following my miscarriage and it provided the distraction I needed from crying and staring at the walls so my opinion might be a bit skewed.
Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. Warning: Long review ahead. I could have written an entire series of posts on this book. I remember reading the viral essay that prompted her to write the book (and capitalize on going viral by starting a Go Fund Me campaign, which, if you have a spare 15 minutes, take the time to read it. It’s helpful, along with her original essay, to put her background into perspective if you plan to read the book), and, given my interest in poverty issues, prompted me to read it. The book is a fascinating read and introduces a firsthand perspective into being part of the working poor that I’ve never read before (well, in book form. There are some long form blog posts that are just as fascinating). The points that she raises get you thinking but unfortunately, some of the time, the angry, bitter, resentful tone of the book completely overshadows what she’s saying. I get why she’s frustrated but her attacks and overgeneralizations and stereotypes of anyone who’s not poor or working poor gets really old really quick. Her presumptions towards the middle class and “rich” (a term she overuses) are just as rude and obnoxious as the attitudes she’s trying to combat. She doesn’t want anyone in the higher economic classes judging her or her choices yet she does the same thing. She does admit that her observations are based solely on her experiences but throughout the book, she speaks as if she is speaking for the entirety of the working poor so it’s slightly contradictory. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book. I read it in a weekend. The author is intelligent, she’s a great writer, and if she publishes more books, I’ll read them and I do recommend this one if these are the kinds of issues that pique your interest. But be prepared for the vitriolic tone and a plethora of the word “fuck”.
The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-So-Great Ones) Saved My Life by Andy Miller. Talk about a click bait book title. Honestly, based on his reviews of the books he read, I had a tough time figuring out which ones he loved and which ones he hated because he actually seemed to dislike more than he liked. I also don’t understand the “saved my life part” but that might have something to do with the fact that I stopped reading this book with 80ish pages left. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. The book started out great. He was funny, engaging, passionate, and although I won’t tackle any of the books on his “Betterment List” (that’s what he calls his to-read list. I thought it was a snobby title but whatever), he did make them seem tempting. Then it all stopped. The book became boring and annoying and pretentious and the ridiculously long footnotes became more cumbersome than intriguing. I had to put it down and walk away.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. I learned about this book from Lisa and first checked it out from the library in March. I kept getting distracted by other books but this month I finally got around to reading it. It’s a quirky, fun story and the main character, Allan, reminds me of Forrest Gump with his uncanny ability to wind up in a number of historical events (like the Korean War, working at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project). He also has the best luck of anyone ever, managing to escape death, prosecution, and torture more than once. The bouncing back and forth between the modern story got annoying after awhile because I found the modern story much better than the past. Except for the parts with Albert Einstein’s imaginary brother, Herbert. I enjoyed that. I definitely laughed out loud several times, and enjoyed the story once I finally got into it. It did drag at times but overall, it turned out to be a good read and I’d recommend it.
Up next for me: Saving Francesca, Let It Be, The Storied Life of AJ Firky, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, The Leisure Seeker, True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, and What Alice Forgot. Should be a busy month.
Separately and not at all related to reading–happy 11th birthday to my first baby, Barkley! He is the most appropriately named dog in the history of dogs and, while he’s slowing down a little in his oldish age, he’s still spunky, cuddly, charming, and he’s not above stealing food off your plate. And he definitely appreciates the value of falling asleep with a good book.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know what you read! Nonbloggers (or anyone that didn’t write a post), leave a comment and bloggers, link up below. And for the organized among us, the next one is June 9: